Deadly Post-Election Violence In Venezuela, As Maduro Blames CIA

CLARIN, LA CAPITAL (Argentina); 20 MINUTOS (Spain); TELESUR (Venezuela); REUTERS


CARACAS - Unrest after Sunday’s Venezuelan elections has left at least seven dead and more than 60 injured, with president-elect Nicolas Maduro and his opponent Henrique Capriles each blaming the other for provoking the escalating violence. Maduro, speaking early Wednesday, also blamed the CIA for inciting the unrest.

Two of the victims were shot dead by opposition supporters during a celebration of Maduro’s win in the capital and, in a separate incident, a 24 year-old man was killed in an attack on a government-run clinic, Reuters reports. Officials said more than 170 people had been arrested; while among the injured was a woman whom protesters tried to burn alive.

The protests began Sunday night, when Capriles called for the people to show their discontent by holding cazerolazo protests -- banging pots and pans to make noise. This quickly escalated with riot police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowds to control them.

According to Clarin, Capriles accused Maduro of ordering the attacks with the aim of avoiding a recount of votes. But on Tuesday night, Capriles called for an end to the protests scheduled for Wednesday, with the aim of avoiding the escalating violence.

Maduro, who'd served as vice-president to Hugo Chavez, declared early Wednesday that the opposition was conspiring to make the public believe that is the government was behind all of the violence, reports TeleSur. The possibility of legal action against Capriles has been called for by some senior government officials, accusing him of beginning to incite a coup.

On Tuesday, Washington said it would not recognize Maduro’s government as legitimate until a full recount of the vote.

Later, Maduro accused the U.S. -- more specifically, the CIA -- of financing and orchestrating the protests, writes Spanish 20 Minutos, calling them “the historic enemy of the people.

“The CIA finance them the violent protestors and now they’re planning electrical sabotage,” he claimed, revealing the “plan” to leave Venezuela without light.

Capriles has said that should anything happen to him, he holds Maduro responsible, reiterating it via Twitter Tuesday night.

Cualquier cosa que me pase en la Residencia Oficial en los Teques hago responsable a Nicolás Maduro!

— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) April 17, 2013

The tension in Venezuela has transferred to the financial markets, but the main source of income for the country -- the state-owned oil company PDVSA -- remained stable, reports La Capital.

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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